These Mandarin Chinese lessons have been designed to provide practical travel vocabulary and a foundation for basic conversational skills. You may also
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SECTION: TO NEED / TO WANT / TO EAT
English: To want / to need Chinese: yau
English: What do you want? Chinese: nee yau shun-muh Literally: you want what?
The verb yau followed by a noun means to want, and followed by a verb implies to need.
English: I want rice Chinese: woh yau ee-guh fahn Literally: I want one rice
We will discuss the word for one later
English: I want you Chinese: woh yau nee Literally: (same)
English: I need to eat Chinese: woh yau chih Literally: (same)
I need to eat (a meal)
Chinese: woh yau chih fahn Literally: I need to eat rice
English: Do you want? Chinese: nee yau mah Literally: you want +?
Another way of asking a question (other than using mah) is to instead place the positive and negative forms of a verb back-to-back, effectively giving the listener a choice:
English: Do you want? (using +/- verb construction) Chinese: nee yau boo yau Literally: you want-not-want?
Don't want (say this to pushy merchants)
Chinese: boo yau Literally: not want
English: No thanks Chinese: see-ay-see-ay, boo yau Literally: thanks, not want
English: Delicious (said about food) Chinese: hau chih Literally: good to eat
English: Very delicious Chinese: hun hau chih Literally: very good to eat
English: Really Chinese: jun / jeun
English: Really delicious Chinese: jun hau chih Literally: really good to eat